I desire to ask you a question that may possibly sound a little strange, but which nevertheless is very important. It is, “Do you love God?” I do not mean do you believe and talk and sing about Him, and admire Him; but do you really love Him, and that with all your heart?
Love to God is an essential part of religion, just as heat is an essential part of fire. You cannot have a living, sanctifying, enjoyable salvation without it. It does not matter what else you do; if you are without love, your religion is vain.
You can very readily tell whether you love God or not.
When any being is truly loved he will be very much in the thoughts. Last thing at night and first thing in the morning the heart will turn to the one it loves. Has God such a place in your mind, my comrade?
When anyone is truly loved, his interests will be cared for. When a father is loved by a son, the reputation and business and property of that father will be anxiously cared for by that son. So it is with your Heavenly Father. If you love Him you will assuredly care for His interests, and seek to promote them with all your heart.
When a being is really loved, the dearest object of life will be to do those things that will yield that being pleasure. What pleases that person and makes him happier will please and gladden you. If you love God you will delight in the doing of His righteous will, if for no other reason than that you will thereby give satisfaction to the heart of your Heavenly Father.
When any being is loved, there will be at least a measure of pleasure experienced in communion with that being. As the flowers turn to the sun, and the rivers run to the sea, so the heart ever turns to that one on whom its affections are chiefly set for comfort, and guidance, and satisfaction. To converse with that being and have his opinions regarding the men and things about us, to speak with him of our successes and failures, our hopes and fears, to hear him tell what his feelings are toward us and to tell him what our feelings are toward him, constitutes one of the chief delights.
Have you any such experience as this with respect to your Heavenly Father? Do you find pleasure in talking to Him, and hearing Him talk to you—on your knees, at your work, in your trials and in your joys?
Is this your experience? Do you feel after this fashion towards God?
William Booth, The Warrior’s Daily Portion, No. 2